By Sandra Fish | New Mexico In Depth
Starboard Communications, which sent the messed-up May fundraising letter on behalf of the New Mexico Republican Party, also worked in the state’s U.S. Senate race last year.
The South Carolina consulting firm is identified in a report filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission by the party, which notes a payment of $2,213.83 for “Mailer/May Gentry Letter.”
That letter featured a forged signature of House Majority Leader Nate Gentry and misspelled Gov. Susana Martinez’s name. It identified Gentry as “Speaker of the House Majority Leader.”
Starboard may be from the East Coast, but the firm isn’t new to New Mexico politics. Allen Weh paid the company more than $1.5 million for media buys and other services in his failed 2014 effort to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, according to Open Secrets.
The company’s second-largest 2014 employer was West Main Street Values, a super PAC that set out to support South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in a primary race.
In late October, that super PAC spent $137,500 to advertise against Udall in the final days before the election. A different company produced the anti-Udall ads.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the biggest donor to West Main Street Values in May 2014.
But in October, Steven Maestas, of Maestas & Ward Commercial Real Estate in Albuquerque, donated $50,000 to the super PAC, while Yates Petroleum of Artesia gave $10,000. Yates also gave the PAC $10,000 in July. The PAC refunded $7,500 to Maestas in late December.
With the 2014 election over, Starboard started doing work for the GOP in New Mexico, including almost $18,700 in mailings in April, another $3,000 mailer in May and $1,370 in graphics work.
It’s likely the New Mexico GOP will continue to employ Starboard, party spokesman Pat Garrett in an email.
“We use and consider a variety of vendors and Starboard Communications is one of them,” Garrett wrote.
A call to Starboard’s principal, Walter Whetsell, has not been returned. The company’swebsite isn’t functioning.